There is a lot of research that has been undertaken internationally and here in Australia about dementia. There is less information about dementia and how it affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.
About our Research
The Aboriginal Health and Ageing Program at NeuRA focuses on a range of research and knowledge translation projects. The Koori Growing Old Well Study (KGOWS) is a community-based cohort study, first funded in 2008, which arose from an observed need for better dementia and aged care in New South Wales (NSW) Aboriginal communities. This study was established in close collaboration with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, NSW Health co-investigators, and local guidance groups to understand ageing and dementia, document service access, raise awareness and build capacity. At KGOWS baseline (2010-2012), 336 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (aged 60-92 years) from five urban and regional communities completed structured interviews and clinical assessments. A key finding was that the prevalence of dementia is three times higher in this population compared to non- Indigenous Australians, at ages 60 years and older. In 2016-2018, we completed the KGOWS-II follow-up study. Following the same people over time through research allows us to learn about the journey of ageing and the beginnings of dementia, and provides information on a range of health, medical, psychosocial, and cultural factors to increase understanding of ageing and dementia in this population. You can find out more about our work here.
The findings from our research have been translated into practice via the Koori Dementia Care Project (KDCP), which has been running since 2012. The KDCP aims to inform, educate, and build capacity in urban and regional NSW communities, by working with community members and service providers. To date, the KDCP has successfully run workshops and information sessions that raise awareness about the effects of dementia on older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their families. The Aboriginal Health and Ageing Program continues to partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and services that have enabled the evolution of research over time, alongside translational projects to support local service improvements. We have been researching dementia with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities since 2008. Our aim is to undertake research and communicate it in meaningful ways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
We have talked about various aspects of dementia and the impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities on this website. Below is more information relating to some of the subjects we have discussed: